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June 1st 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Scomo routs Labor, the Green, GetUp and the left-wing media by Patrick J. Byrne and Peter Westmore

CANBERRA OBSERVED Surprise! Polls aren't what they used to be

GENDER POLITICS The true cost of childhood gender reassignment

OBITUARY Bob Hawke, R.I.P.: astute politician, flawed policies

POETRY AND SOCIETY T.S. Eliot and the modern condition

WATER POLICY The time is ripe to revisit the Bradfield scheme

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan upgrades U.S. links, asserts sovereignty

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Recapping the trial as Cardinal Pell's appeal approaches

THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY Working to bring down the Sexual Revolution

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki Part 2: Science and ancient cultures

HUMOUR A tidy planet is a happy planet

MUSIC Charles Ives: Modern elements aimed at sounding good

CINEMA John Wick 1: The lighting of the fuse

BOOK REVIEW Novelised true crime a true thriller

BOOK REVIEW The experiences of Phoebe Raye

POETRY

LETTERS

FEDERAL ELECTION Queensland voted for jobs, life and country

Books promotion page

VIETNAM:
An Epic Tragedy, 1945–75

Max Hastings

$34.99


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About the book

Vietnam became the Western world's most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle.

He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a U.S. Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.

Many writers treat the war as a U.S. tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom 40 died for every American. U.S. blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists.

The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.

No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.

Industry Reviews

“Will surely set the benchmark for years to come … He has written many excellent histories, but this may be his best … Exhaustively researched and superbly written, it is both a balanced account of how and why the war unfolded as it did, and a gripping narrative on what it was like to take part … This is history as it should be: objective, immersive and compelling.” Daily Telegraph

“Powerful and chilling … Hastings is masterful at describing the conditions faced by young American soldiers … Hastings is second to none in his ability to describe military strategy with a clarity that makes things entirely understandable to the layman.” Mail on Sunday

“Magnificent, his best work … full of extraordinary and compelling detail and thoroughly informed by his own personal experience of so much of the war. It’s written in unputdownable style, with a dispassionate, liberal-minded understanding of the detail of the war, which draws on testimony from every side and doesn’t favour anyone. I’ve never read a better history of the wars in Vietnam, and it’s hard to see how anyone will be able to improve on this.” John Simpson

“The last word on the tactical and military chronicle of the war, the main reference book for schools and universities for future generations.” Evening Standard

“Neophytes and experts alike will find Hastings’ book stimulating, informative and, above all, riveting.” New Statesman

“This fabulous work offers up a gut-wrenching glimpse of the reality of war.” The Sun

“Max Hastings’ big, bold, brilliant account of ’Nam … is crammed with detail, cameo and insight … a stellar, stand-out book.” Sunday Express

“Impressive … Hastings shines in his ability to let those who experienced the war tell their stories … Makes for a fast-paced, poignant and often eye-opening read.” Literary Review

“A work of considerable quality, marked by a possibly unique combination of military expertise, historical grasp and journalistic skill.” Observer

About the author

Max Hastings studied at Charterhouse and Oxford and became a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than 60 countries and 11 wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard. He has won many awards for his journalism. Among his bestselling books, Bomber Command won the Somerset Maugham Prize, and both Overlord and Battle for the Falklands won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize. After 10 years as editor and then editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, he became editor of the Evening Standard in 1996. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he was knighted in 2002. He now lives in Berkshire.


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